Tag Archives: brawler

Juuouki

Reviews
Altered Beast - Title Screen
06/1988 (Japan), 08/1988 (US)
獣王記
Chronicle of The Beast King
Altered Beast
While Altered Beast is not Sega's entry in the beat-em-up genre (that honor goes to the Master System/Mark III Hokuto no Ken/Fist of the Northstar game), it is the first entry into the genre for them using an original property. Sega was already known for their high quality arcade games (at least on average) at this point, but they were entering into a genre that had some real heavy hitters in recent years (most notably Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade and Double Dragon, both from Technos Japan). Would Altered Beast innovate in the brawler genre the same way Sega had innovated with some of their other arcade games? Continue Reading

Dragon Ninja

Reviews
Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja - Title Screen
Arcade
04/1988 (Japan, US)
ドラゴンニンジャ
Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
Hitting the arcades almost one year after the genre-changing Double Dragon and three years after grandfather Spartan X, Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja was Data East's first beat-em-up. Like the recently released The Ninja Warriors, Bad Dudes leans into action movies featuring ninjas for aesthetics, since they were extremely popular at the time. Instead of controlling a ninja (well, a robot one anyway) against an army with the goal of assassinating the President though, this time you control a street brawling tough guy (or two, if you're playing multi-player) attempting to rescue the President from a group of ninjas known as Dragon Ninja. Continue Reading

Double Dragon

Reviews
Double Dragon Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
06/1987 (Japan), 1987 (US), 1987 (PAL)
双截龍 (ダブルドラゴン)
Yoshihisa Kishimoto and his team significantly evolved the beat-em-genre with Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade in 1986. Technos Japan naturally wanted them to make more of these games, so they were tasked with just that. June 1987 would be the arcade birth of not only an even bigger success for Technos Japan than Kunio kun, but also the birth of another beat-em-up franchise and further evolution of the genre: Double Dragon. Originally envisioned as a direct sequel to Kunio kun, Kishimoto was given two mandates: This game should allow for 2 players simultaneously and have a bigger international appeal. Given that Kunio kun had to be visually gutted in order to sell it overseas as Renegade, a direct sequel was pretty much out of the question. So instead of taking inspiration from the Tsuppari genre and his own high school fighting experiences, Kishimoto pulled from another source that was dear to him: Bruce Lee. He particularly loved "Enter the Dragon", and so he came up with not only the title of the game but also the names of the protagonists (Billy and Jimmy Lee) from these sources. Continue Reading

Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun

Reviews
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
05/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US)
熱血硬派くにおくん
Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio
Renegade
Delinquent high school students talking tough and beating each other up in school uniforms while sporting distinct hair styles is probably not unfamiliar to those who enjoy Japanese media. This genre, called "tsuppari" (or "yankii"/"yankee" as we got into the 90s), was very prevalent in from the 1970s through the 1990s. Technos Japan's Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun ("Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio") was the video game front runner for this genre, proceeding even one of the most well known representations of tsuppari, a manga series called "Crows". It's unclear how much inspiration was actually taken from other media, but in a 2013 interview director Yoshihisa Kishimoto said that the game reflected his own high school experience. Continue Reading

Double Dragon

Reviews
Double Dragon (Famicom) - Title Screen
Famicom/NES
04/08/1988 (Japan), 06/1988 (US), 1990 (PAL)
双截龍 (ダブルドラゴン)
Almost a year after the original arcade hit, Double Dragon was brought home to the Famicom. This is the first of the handful of home ports that Japan would see of this game, and the NES version is probably among the first to be seen throughout the rest of the world (the microcomputer versions don't have exact dates associated with them, other than just 1988). The Famicom port probably didn't deliver the experience that big fans of the arcade version wanted, but it succeeded on its own merits. Continue Reading
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